Akagi (manga)

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Akagi
Akagi manga vol 1.png
Cover of the first manga volume
アカギ 〜闇に降り立った天才〜
(Akagi: Yami ni Oritatta Tensai)
GenreGambling,[1][2] mahjong,[3] psychological[4]
Manga
Written byNobuyuki Fukumoto
Published byTakeshobo
MagazineKindai Mahjong
DemographicSeinen
Original runJune 1, 1991February 1, 2018
Volumes36 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Tōhai Densetsu Akagi: Yami ni Maiorita Tensai
Directed by
  • Yūzō Satō
  • Hiroyuki Tanaka (assistant)
Produced by
Written byHideo Takayashiki
Music byHideki Taniuchi
StudioMadhouse
Original networkNippon TV
Original run October 5, 2005 March 29, 2006
Episodes26 (List of episodes)
Television drama
Directed by
  • Mitsuru Kubota
  • Hitoshi Iwamoto (season 1–2)
  • Hiroshi Itō (season 1–2)
Produced by
  • Atsushi Nagauchi
  • Hiroshi Itō
Written by
  • Mitsuru Tanabe
  • Eizo Kobayashi (season 1)
Music byTarō Makido
Original networkBS SKY PerfecTV!
Original run July 17, 2015 June 8, 2018
Episodes18
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and manga portal

Akagi: Yami ni Oritatta Tensai (Japanese: アカギ 〜闇に降り立った天才〜, lit. "Akagi: The Genius Who Descended into Darkness") is a Japanese manga written and illustrated by Nobuyuki Fukumoto. First published in 1991 in Takeshobo's weekly magazine Kindai Mahjong, it is a spin-off of the author's previous work, Ten. It revolves around Shigeru Akagi, a boy who defeats yakuza members well versed in mahjong at 13. He returns to the game six years later, carrying a mythical status and still impresses his opponents.

In Japan, Akagi has sold over 12 million copies. It was adapted as two V-Cinema live-action films in 1995 and 1997. A 26-episode anime television series covering roughly 13 volumes of the manga was produced by Madhouse and broadcast on Japanese television network Nippon Television from October 2005 to March 2006. Two live-action television dramas aired on BS SKY PerfecTV! between July and September 2015 and October and November 2017, with a third series aired in 2018. The series has also spawned several companion books, spin-off manga, video games, and other merchandise.

Plot[edit]

The story begins with Nangō, an indebted man who is playing a mahjong gamble with the wicked yakuza named Ryūzaki and losing badly. Just then, a junior high school student appears at the mahjong parlor. The boy, Shigeru Akagi, survived a game of chicken between juvenile delinquents and is taken in by Nangō, who wishes to change the tides. Akagi, despite not understanding mahjong, gives Nangō perplexing "advice" that allows him to rethink the situation and win immediately. Nangō senses something in Akagi and entrusts him to play for him. Akagi shows his extraordinary talent and demands another "double or nothing" match when he beats Ryūzaki and his rep player Keiji Yagi. It is then when Detective Yasuoka, who has been chasing Akagi, acts as an intermediary and introduces him to Ichikawa, a blind rep player summoned by Kawada clan's young subordinate leader Kurosaki.

After the battle with Ichikawa, Akagi disappears for several years. Kawada, the leader of the Kawada clan who was looking for a rep player, is introduced to Akagi by Yasuoka. However, this Akagi is in fact an impersonator named Yukio Hirayama, and the real Akagi works at a factory. Akagi ends up briefly confronting the fake Akagi and shows off his overwhelming talent once again. He then earns money from the fight and saves his coworker Osamu Nozaki from being duped by his colleagues at the factory. At the same time, a showdown between the fake Akagi and Urabe, the rep player of the Fujisawa clan, was about to take place in the Kawada clan.

A few months after Akagi's disappearance from Osamu's life, Osamu goes on to attend one of the mahjong parlors. Nakai, who was there at the time, is seeking Akagi and asks Osamu where he is. Later, an inexplicable series of mysterious deaths occur in Tokyo, where the corpses of young men with their blood drained from their bodies are found in large numbers. It was the result of life-or-death gambles carried out by Iwao Washizu, the so-called king of the modern era. Fake Akagi was among his victims. Yasuoka and Takeshi Ōgi look for Akagi in an attempt to defeat Washizu, whose mahjong games involve betting one's blood and most of the tiles being replaced with transparent glass tiles that alter the rules in many ways.

Three years after the Washizu Mahjong showdown, Akagi is last seen winning big in Tehonbiki, a gambling game that leaves no room for chance, and wandering around local gambling dens with Osamu.

Characters[edit]

Key Persons[edit]

Shigeru Akagi (赤木 しげる, Akagi Shigeru)
Voiced by: Masato Hagiwara
Portrayed by: Kanata Hongō (Drama), Takashi Kashiwabara (V-Cinema)
The main character of the story, he starts off as a 13 year old middle schooler and grows up into a 23 year old man by the epilogue. A white-haired man who exudes aberrant air, he has an uncanny ability to win in all aspects of gambling, and his opponents call him a "devil" and a "black hole." Despite having natural luck to draw good tiles at the crucial moments, he never counts on luck and always relies on his own skill to win the games. He has an excellent ability to detect the psychological weaknesses of his opponents, and is a genuine outlaw who has built up legends in the underworld by going through a number of brutal experiences, including a game of chicken run in junior high school. Also, because of the above-mentioned background, he is physically strong enough to easily beat down thugs, but is no match for the large numbers of yakuza that surround him. Though a largely aloof character, he has a righteous side to him, such as trying to return a favor to Nangō who took him in, cover for Osamu who joined the "welcome party," and help Yasuoka and Ōgi who rescued him from a certain predicament.
His last name is taken from actor Keiichirō Akagi.
Nangō (南郷)
Voiced by: Rikiya Koyama
Portrayed by: Taro Suruga (Drama), Isao Bitō (V-Cinema)
The narrator of the early portion of the story. He is the one who initiated Akagi's entry into the underworld. At the beginning of the story, he is in debt of 3 million yen (30 million yen in today's money) due to stock losses and gambling, and was risking his life against the Yakuza to pay off the debt when he met Akagi and was saved by him. While various madmen and prodigies appear throughout the story, he is the most ordinary and human. After Akagi's victory over Ichikawa, he gets a large sum of money of 4 million yen in addition to paying off his debt. However, he realizes the difference between himself and Akagi as a gambler, and from then on he is ready to give up gambling. Six years later, at Ishikawa's request, he is reunited with Akagi and witnesses a gamble with the fake Akagi.
Yasuoka (安岡)
Voiced by: Tesshō Genda
Portrayed by: Satoshi Jinbo (Drama), Minori Terada (V-Cinema)
A major supporting character for most of the story. A corrupt detective with close ties to the yakuza, he was originally investigating the chicken run incident, but in the process became interested in Akagi's gambling talent. Since then, he has been supporting Akagi by setting up games between him and other opponents. His own gambling talents are mediocre, but he is more perceptive than Nangō and Ōgi, as he quickly realizes the nature of Akagi's tactics and game play. When he reappears six years later, he sets up a fake Akagi in order to make money, but he loses to Urabe so badly that he is forced to dissolve the duo. In the later Washizu Arc, he is shown to be a sympathetic person who rescues Akagi by forcing his way into the gambling den of the Kurata clan. In subsequent Washizu Mahjong games, he plays a supporting role by being a right-hand player to Akagi. However, he sometimes fails to read Akagi's intentions and ends up dragging him down.
A character resembling a young Yasuoka appears in the spin-off work Washizu. While he continues to work as a detective in the original manga and anime, he resigned from the position in 1959 in the V-Cinema adaptation.
Takeshi Ōgi (仰木 武司, Ōgi Takeshi)
Voiced by: Issei Futamata
Portrayed by: Yōji Tanaka (Drama)
A major supporting character for the Washizu arc. A young subordinate leader of the Inada clan that is affiliated with the Santō clan. Originally, he was an "obedient sheep" who introduced Washizu to young men who would be his high-rate mahjong opponents. However, after Washizu's weakening and Yasuoka's temptation, he turns on Washizu and sends Akagi to Washizu Mahjong as an assassin in order to steal all of Washizu's 500 million yen (worth about 5 billion yen in today's money). In doing so, he supports Akagi's demand for doubling the rate by ten, so he and Washizu have an agreement that if Akagi loses and dies, Ōgi will lose one of his arms. He is constantly watching the match behind Akagi's back, but he is often swinging from joy to sorrow by the unconventional moves between Akagi and Washizu, and is not always able to understand their battle.
Iwao Washizu (鷲巣 巌, Washizu Iwao)
Voiced by: Masane Tsukayama
Portrayed by: Masahiko Tsugawa (Drama)
The second main character of the story, and the one and only major enemy that Akagi considers "his own kind." He is 75 years old as of August 1965. Known as the "emperor of darkness," he ruled Japan from behind the scenes after the war and amassed great wealth. He is also considered to be the monster of the Showa era for his outstanding foresight, intelligence, and above all, his godlike luck. Before the war, he worked as a bureaucrat in the Home Ministry and was involved in the Special Higher Police, but he left after the Battle of Midway, foreseeing Japan's defeat in the war. When he saw the state of Japan after the war, he woke up to the realization that he was going to win the rest of his life. After the war, he established the management consultancy "Kyōsei" and used the connections and scandals he gained during his time in the Ministry to make great contributions to Japan's post-war reconstruction, while also building up absolute power and fortune and becoming the "king" who controlled the nation from the darkness. However, despair towards old age and death drove him mad, and he took supreme pleasure in playing "Washizu Mahjong" with young people's lives, watching them lose and die in the process. He has the mahjong skills to match his invincible career, and even Akagi, who has extraordinary natural luck, says his luck isn't even close to Washizu's, and his near-divine mahjong tactics that allow him to draw all the right tiles leads him to be called the "sun" and "white hole" in contrast to Akagi. It is said that only the strong luck, which is described as the darkness of Akagi, can twist Washizu's "solid luck" and give him a small chance to win.

Yakuza and Rep Players[edit]

Ryūzaki (竜崎)
Voiced by: Kōji Nakata
Portrayed by: Shinji Rokkaku (Drama), Shigemitsu Ogi (V-Cinema)
A yakuza of the Kawada clan. He makes a living killing amateurs through mahjong, and is rumored to be a serious player. He is Akagi's first opponent, and while he battled with Nangō to pay off Nangō's debt, he was overwhelmed by Akagi's extraordinary talent when he came in as a substitute, and left him to the rep player Yagi. According to Akagi, he is "a second-rate player who has cornered cowering opponents against the backdrop of pressure." In the original manga, he is also present for the fight against Ichikawa.
Keiji Yagi (矢木 圭次, Yagi Keiji)
Voiced by: Wataru Takagi
Portrayed by: Hidekazu Mashima (Drama), Yutaka Matsushige (V-Cinema)
A professional rep player that the Kawada clan has surrounded itself with. He plays against Akagi as a substitute for Ryūzaki, and before the match, he threatens Akagi that the loser will cut off one of his fingers in exchange for money, but Akagi, sensing his intentions, does not care and demands the same thing back. Yagi takes the advantage and fights back with an elaborate scamming move, but he loses the first round when he is scammed back by Akagi. After that, he was completely tossed around and lost. Since the Ichikawa fight started soon afterwards, it is not known what happened to him or if his finger was cut off. In the drama version, he attacks Akagi with a blade after his defeat, but was unable to kill him as he had obtained a gun from the Kawada clan. Afterwards, he is said to have gone on an apprenticeship.
Ichikawa (市川)
Voiced by: Hideyuki Tanaka
Portrayed by: Takeshi Kaga (Drama)
A blind old man who is a rep player for the Kawada clan. He is said to be one of the top five players in the underworld. Five days after the Yagi fight, he plays Akagi as Ryūzaki's substitute. After he was blinded by a Russian roulette game he had played in the past, he fights Akagi to the death by using his improved hearing and thoroughly rational mind, as well as the tile-drawing walls which he fully memorizes and can swap at will. But in the end, he ignores rationality, and his thoughts, cheating, and insurance were all foreseen and defeated by a trap that Akagi had set up. Kurosaki has branded him as "a man who can never come close to Akagi."
He is modeled after the actor Hideyo Amamoto. In the TV drama, an original scene is added where he has an encounter with Washizu. His advice to choose to bet on something more quivering than money and how mahjong is so much more terrifying when the hands are half-visible ends up giving Washizu an epiphany to come up with Washizu Mahjong. He also appears in the spin-off work HERO, a sequel to Ten, though considering the passage of time since the game with Akagi, it is not clear whether or not he is the same Ichikawa from before, and the truth of the matter is never revealed.
Fake Akagi / Yukio Hirayama (ニセアカギ / 平山 幸雄, Nise Akagi / Hirayama Yukio)
Voiced by: Ginpei Sato
Portrayed by: Nobuaki Fujioka (Drama)
A "fake Akagi" set up by Yasuoka. Despite resembling the real Akagi in appearance, he has a timid mind at the core. He is a genius in a different sense from Akagi, having a memory and calculation ability that is beyond human comprehension. However, he is regarded as an "ordinary man" by Akagi himself. His personality, which relies too much on deduction and probability, results in a disastrous defeat in a match against Urabe. He later meets a tragic end at Washizu Mahjong and never plays against Akagi head-on himself. In the original manga, the Urabe fight was the last time he was depicted alive, and he reappeared in a brutal manner as a corpse half-buried in the mountains. In the anime, an additional flashback is shown where he is drained of a lethal amount of blood in Washizu's mahjong game and falls down after discarding a tile while in a daze.
Urabe (浦部)
Voiced by: Morio Kazama
Portrayed by: Arata Furuta (V-Cinema)
A rep player for the Fujisawa clan. He is from the Kansai region. At first, he looked weak during the match against the fake Akagi, but it was all an act, and he is a formidable mahjong player who doubles the rates to get back his losses. Though the fake Akagi and Osamu didn't seem to be able to keep him at bay, Akagi saw through the essence of "pending mahjong" where Urabe stops and waits to see what happens when there is a risk, and he took advantage of this to cause a 70,000-point upset and win the game. In the end, in addition to the 32 million in debt, Urabe suffers the terrible punishment of having all the fingers on his hands crushed. In retaliation, he demands a rematch with Akagi after his wounds are healed, and though he is provoked into a rage and he promises to kill Akagi, he ends up declining Akagi's conditions. According to Akagi, Urabe is not a gambler who can risk his life, hence why he merely keeps playing "pending" mahjong, and is not a man who can possess true fury until the day he dies.

Miscellaneous[edit]

Osamu Nozaki (野崎 治, Nozaki Osamu)
Voiced by: Yūdai Satō
Akagi's freckled coworker from the Numata toy factory. Every month on payday, Kawashima's gang extorts salary from him through mahjong games, and even after Akagi's entry into the company he continues to be duped. However, he did not pass the blame on to others, claiming that he was the one who chose to play with them, and Akagi noticed his attitude and got his salary back. When Akagi leaves the factory, Osamu resigns along with him and ends up confronting Urabe as a substitute for a short time. However, Nakai, whom he runs into shortly afterwards, stops him from following Akagi when he tells Osamu how exceptional Akagi is. Osamu then reappears in the Tehonbiki arc and tries to take care of Akagi's personal affairs. In the anime adaptation, due to the absence of Nakai, he is not seen again after the match with Urabe.
He reappears in the form of an old man aged 74 in Yami-Mahjong Fighter: Mamiya, a sequel to Ten that takes place in modern times. He runs a ramen shop as once advised by Akagi and serves as Mamiya's liaison, but he himself has stepped away from gambling.
Junpei Nakai (仲井 純平, Nakai Junpei)
A man who makes his living from the money he earns at the mahjong parlors. He has a strong and refreshing personality and speaks in a Kyushu dialect. He hears a rumor about Akagi and challenges him to a match by using "passing" (a form of cheating where players report each other's tiles), but is defeated. Realizing the nature of Akagi's power, he stopped Osamu from following him. He does not appear in the anime adaptation.

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

Akagi: Yami ni Oritatta Tensai, written and illustrated by Nobuyuki Fukumoto, is a spin-off of Fukumoto's 1989 manga, Ten: Tenhōdōri no Kaidanji.[1][5] Its first chapter was published in Takeshobo's magazine Kindai Mahjong on June 1, 1991.[6][7][8] The manga's first tankōbon (collected volume) was released by Takeshobo on April 24, 1992.[9] Some volumes—26 and 28—were published both on a regular and a special edition.[10][11][12][13] The former had a 13-year-old Akagi plush doll as a bonus[12] and the latter included a Zippo lighter in the format of a mahjong tile engraved with Akagi's and Washizu's faces.[13] Its latest volume—the 36th—was published on June 27, 2018.[14]

In February 2017, Takeshobo started to display eight different posters at 15 major railway stations on the Yamanote Line in Tokyo to announce the series planned conclusion on February 1, 2018.[3] However, the series editor said it did not mean the manga would really reach its conclusion but that it would continue irregularly. To announce it one year before the ending was in fact a marketing strategy to attract the readers who quit reading the series and those who did not read it yet.[7] A shinsōban three-on-one edition featuring new cover illustrations started to be published on February 15, 2017,[15] and marked the start of what the editor called their one-year "grace period" as part of their tactic to attract readers.[7][16][17] The 33rd and latest volume of this edition was published on December 26, 2017.[18]

Related books and spin-offs[edit]

Several related books and spin-off manga have been released. A series of three mahjong commentary books illustrated by Makoto Fukuchi and titled Akagi Akuma no Senjutsu (アカギ悪魔の戦術, lit. "Akagi: Diabolical Tactics") were released between May 17, 1999, and January 27, 2001.[19][20] An anthology written by several other manga artists, including CLAMP, Shinobu Kaitani and Mikio Igarashi, was released on July 27, 2011.[21] An Akagi-themed mahjong introduction guide was released on two parts on July 27, 2011, and July 17, 2013.[22][23] A character book was released on July 17, 2012,[24] and an anthology compiling dōjinshi written at 2013 Comiket was released by Broccoli Books.[25] Several crossovers between Akagi and Ten[26][27] as well as between Akagi and Hero, another series by Fukumoto, have also been published by Takeshobo.[28]

Washizu: Enma no Tōhai (ワシズ-閻魔の闘牌-, lit. "Washizu: Lord of Mahjong Hell"), a spin-off manga written and illustrated by Keiichirō Hara focusing on Iwao Washizu's past escapades, was serialized in Monthly Kindai Mahjong Original starting on June 28, 2008.[29] The series spawned eight volumes released between February 17, 2009, and January 26, 2013.[30][31] Washizu: Enma no Tōhai was also published as two "B6 Series" released on October 27, 2012, and January 17, 2013.[32][33] A one-shot on Washizu was also drawn by CLAMP for Monthly Kindai Mahjong Original and released on August 8, 2008.[29] On November 8, 2012, Monthly Kindai Mahjong Original published the first chapter of Washizu: Tenka Sōsei Tōhairoku (ワシズ 天下創世闘牌録, lit. "Washizu: The Mahjong That Ruled a Nation"),[34] a sequel to Enma no Tōhai, and it moved to the magazine Kindai Manga in May 2014.[35] The spin-off series concluded as the fourth volume was released on May 15, 2015.[36][37]

In 2019, a "chapter 0" of a new manga entitled Yami-Mahjong Fighter: Mamiya (闇麻のマミヤ, Yamima no Mamiya) written by Fukumoto, was published in the June issue of Kindai Mahjong, released on May 1, 2019. The story is set 20 years after the events of Akagi.[38] The series started a regular serialization since the August issue of Kindai Mahjong published on July 1, 2019.[39] The first collected volume of it was published by Takeshobo on December 6, 2019.[40]

Anime[edit]

An anime adaptation of the manga, titled Tōhai Densetsu Akagi: Yami ni Maiorita Tensai (闘牌伝説アカギ 〜闇に舞い降りた天才〜, lit. "Mahjong Legend Akagi: The Genius Who Descended Into the Darkness"), premiered in Japan on Nippon Television (NTV) on October 5, 2005, and ran for 26 episodes until March 29, 2006.[41] Produced by NTV, VAP, Forecast Communications and Madhouse, the series is directed by Yūzō Satō, with Hideo Takayashiki handling series composition, Takahiro Umehara designing the characters and Hideki Taniuchi composing the music. The anime is narrated by Tōru Furuya.[42] In September 2013, streaming service Crunchyroll announced the licensing of the anime in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbeans, and South and Central America.[43] The first six episodes were available in these countries from September 10, 2013, with five more episodes streamed every week thereafter.[43]

VAP compiled the series and released it as two DVD box sets on March 24, and May 24, 2006.[44] Several types of tie-ins merchandise were released,[45] such as an official guidebook published by Takeshobo on March 29, 2006[46] and an official soundtrack album composed by Hideki Taniuchi released on January 25, 2006.[42][47] Produced by VAP, the soundtrack featured 35 tracks,[47] including the anime's opening theme, "Nantoka Nare" (何とかなれ, "But It'll All Be Fine") by Furuido and its two ending themes, "Akagi" by Maximum the Hormone and "S.T.S." by Animals.[48]

V-Cinema[edit]

Kenzō Maihara directed two V-Cinema films adaptations of Akagi starring Takashi Kashiwabara: Tōhai Den Akagi (闘牌伝アカギ), released November 11, 1995,[49] and Jan-Ma Akagi (雀魔アカギ), released July 25, 1997.[50] Takeshobo rereleased both films in DVD format on January 27, 2006.[51][52] A video game based on the first film was released by Micronet for PlayStation on January 19, 1996.[53]

Video games[edit]

Warashi adapted Akagi into a PlayStation 2 game released by D3 Publisher on December 12, 2002.[54][55] It was rereleased as part of the budget-priced "Simple series" on October 14, 2004.[56] In 2006, Taito Corporation released two mobile games based on the anime.[57][58] Two video games based on the anime series were developed by Culture Brain and published by Nintendo. The first, a Game Boy Advance game, was released on March 3, 2006,[59] and the second, for Nintendo DS, was released on August 9, 2007.[60] Fujishoji released a pachislot machine in 2008,[61] which was adapted by Sunsoft into a mobile version released in 2009.[62] Okumura Yuuki released its first pachinko machine in 2008,[63] which was followed by another in 2012.[64] A smartphone game was developed by Imagineer and made available from March 5, 2014,[65] while Gloops released a social network game for Mobage on August 1 of the same year.[66]

Drama[edit]

Masahiko Tsugawa plays Akagi's main rival, Washizu, in the live-action television adaptations

A Japanese television drama that adapts the manga starting from its eighth volume aired on the channel BS SKY PerfecTV!.[67][68] A ten-episode first season, directed by Mitsuru Kubota, Hitoshi Iwamoto and Hiroshi Itō, produced by Itō and Atsushi Nagauchi, and written by Mitsuru Tanabe and Eizo Kobayashi, was broadcast from July 17, 2015 to September 18, 2015.[67][69] Kanata Hongou and Masahiko Tsugawa play Akagi and Washizu respectively, while its theme song, "Don't Be Afraid," is performed by Shōnan no Kaze.[70] Crunchyroll licensed the drama for streaming it in about 150 countries.[68] Pony Canyon released the series into a DVD box on March 2, 2016.[71]

A five-episode sequel, Akagi: Ryūzaki–Yagi-hen / Ichikawa-hen (アカギ「竜崎・矢木編 /市川編」, lit. "Akagi 'Ryūzaki–Yagi Arc' / 'Ichikawa Arc'"), directed and produced by the same staff and written only by Tanabe, was broadcast on the same channel from October 13, 2017 to November 11, 2017.[69][72] A three-episode sequel titled Akagi: Washizu Mahjong Kanketsu-hen (アカギ~鷲巣麻雀完結編~, lit. "Akagi: Washizu Mahjong Concluding Chapter") was directed by Kubota, produced by Nagauchi and Itō, and written by Tanabe.[69][73] Shōnan no Kaze announced a different theme song, "Kokushimusō" (国士無双, Thirteen Orphans), for the second sequel.[74] The latter started on May 25, 2018, and ended on June 8, 2018.[69][74] A DVD box containing this two latter series was released on August 17, 2018 by Pony Canyon.[75]

Reception[edit]

Public response[edit]

As of 2017, the Akagi manga had over 12 million copies in circulation worldwide.[3] Individual volumes have been featured in Oricon's weekly charts of best-selling manga in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2016.[76] The series has a cult following,[5] and has aroused interest for mahjong in the West,[77] especially in Russia, where it "ignited a boom".[78] Nevertheless, Akagi has been surpassed in popularity by Fukumoto's other work, Kaiji.[2]

Critical response[edit]

English-language reviewers have analyzed the anime adaptation more than the manga. David Cabrera of Otaku USA called Akagi a "nihilistic badass," highlighting how he can "psychologically dismantle a man."[77] Both John Oppliger of AnimeNation and Anime News Network's Michael Toole compared it to Kaiji.[2][5] Oppliger, however, stated that Kaiji relies on deus ex machina events but Akagi is based on "skilled gamesmanship."[2] He opined that the series is "engrossing and addicting because of its smart, suspenseful writing."[2] Toole found it reminiscent of a period piece due to the 1950–60's setting, calling it a "cool series" because of this. He also declared that "Akagi isn't about whether or not the title character will win—he will definitely win. It's about the joy of seeing how he wins, about observing a young man who seriously does not give a fuck relentlessly picking off bad guy after bad guy."[5]

Bradley Meek wrote for THEM Anime Reviews how it differed from traditional sports anime, describing it as a "hard-boiled, grimy" anime in which "there's a tangible sense of danger". However, he was most critical of it, concluding that "it has an appealing package, but not a lot of entertainment value." His critiques were directed towards the fact that one layperson cannot understand the jargon of the mahjong matches; that Akagi is an unrelatable character as he makes no mistakes; and that the Washizu arc was "contrived, long" and "does not get a satisfying conclusion".[79] UK Anime Network's Elliot Page argued mahjong's understanding was not necessary, as the entertainment is not provided by the mahjong itself, but by the characters' attitudes, and highlighted how the narrator provides further tension in the events. Page praised the uncommon animation style that, "while not amazing by any metric, are tuned to be highly expressive, dragging you into the action and the intensity of the moment". He also criticized the last arc as it compromised the series' pacing and does not end, but concluded, "arguably this isn't very important in the grand scheme - as ... the main joy of the series is watching the mind games on display as the opponents try and mentally dismantle each other, which it does still deliver in spades".[80]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Creator of Akagi and Kaiji to Visit Finland in June". Anime News Network. April 8, 2010. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e Oppliger, John (November 16, 2012). "Ask John: What are the Best Gambling Anime?". AnimeNation. Archived from the original on September 7, 2014. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Loo, Egan (February 12, 2017). "Akagi Mahjong Manga to End in February 2018 After 27 Years". Anime News Network. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  4. ^ Oppliger, John (January 6, 2012). "Ask John: What Are Some Good Psychological Anime?". AnimeNation. Archived from the original on January 27, 2012. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d Toole, Michael (October 6, 2013). "Tiles Against Humanity - The Mike Toole Show". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
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External links[edit]